By Anjali Shastry
ANNAPOLIS (January 17, 2015)—Outgoing Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is "seriously thinking about" running for president, he said Friday at a news conference in the Maryland State House, despite the recent blow of his lieutenant governor not being elected to Maryland's highest office.
OMalleys future includes joining the lecture circuit and working as a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins Universitys Carey School of Business, where, he said, he would be taking part in modules of classes they offer and teaching about how to apply business principles to public policy and government.
After he leaves office, OMalley said he is psyched that he and his family will settle down as private citizens in their hometown of Baltimore.
But it is safe to say that he is not yet done with elective office.
At his final news conference as the governor of Maryland, OMalley answered questions about the biggest issues the state and country face, as well as fielded questions his potential presidential run.
Im very seriously considering running in 2016, he said, taking questions in the Governors Reception Room.
This decision has been complicated by the fact that his lieutenant governor, Anthony G. Brown, lost the governors race to Republican Larry Hogan, and that former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may run and is considered a favorite for the Democratic nomination. OMalley said he has not made a decision yet, but is not taking Clintons campaign decision into consideration.
Despite the fact that OMalley disagreed with the tactical decisions Browns campaign made, he praised Brown for never jumping ship or betraying that he had any reservations about OMalleys political decisions while they were in office.
As you all know, there were no popular choices to be made in keeping this ship moving forward and keeping it from taking on water, he said.
Todd Eberly, a professor of political science at St. Marys College of Maryland OMalley fatigue probably played a role in Browns loss, he said, which might hurt OMalleys chances in the 2016 election.
Brown ran a horrible campaign. But at the same time, Brown attached himself to OMalleys hip and didnt distance himself, Eberly said. He basically ran as a third term for OMalley. If Brown ran a better campaign, maybe he couldve balanced out OMalley.
Mileah Kromer, a political scientist who oversees the Goucher poll and a professor at Goucher College, said OMalleys record, such as abolishing the death penalty and legalizing gay marriage, will play well with the Democratic primary electorate, but he will likely be unsuccessful in his bid for the presidency.
He has all these really great talking points, which dont matter until we figure out what Hillary Clinton is doing, Kromer said. This is the battle he faces, and what every other Democratic contender faces right now.
OMalley also highlighted education and the economy as the biggest issues the state and country face.
The problem we need to solve is how to make the economy work for all of us again, he said, pointing to Maryland as the state with the highest median income in America and the Pew Foundations ranking of the state as top three for upward economic mobility.
As proud as he is of the way Marylands economy has begun to bounce back from the recession, OMalley said, he is still concerned about the ripple effects of the government shutdown and sequester on the states economy.
In his last address to the General Assembly on Thursday, OMalley emphasized bipartisanship as the key to keeping the government moving smoothly as the Democratic-majority legislature works with Republican Gov.-elect Hogan.
OMalley on Friday described his own record of bipartisanship as positive with the Republicans in the General Assembly, and said that 70 percent of the legislative agenda his office submitted to the legislature was received positively by Republicans.
The ones that make the news are the most contentious ones, he said.
Outgoing Delegate Kelly Schulz, who will take over as secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, said that the large items were not received well by the Republican members of the legislature.
My assumption would be that it is somewhat less than 70 percent, Schulz said.
Seventy percent of the legislation could have been received positively by the Republicans, Eberly said, but only if you consider the entirety of a legislative agenda.
The hot button issues are where you can gauge bipartisanship, and on these issues, he was a happy partisan, Eberly said.
Most are mundane, routine stuff that receives bipartisan support, because thats not what really matters. Funds, same-sex marriage, gun control, thats where you learn if someones interested in bipartisanship or just pursuing their own agenda. If he runs on the basis that he can be bipartisan, theres no record for that.
The last question, as he was preparing to leave his last press availability as governor: What about OMalleys March, the governors Celtic rock band? Will they go on tour?
Maybe. If we get offers, he joked.